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Tactical problem with my Blizzard/Meteor sorc

Discussion in 'Sorceress' started by oda krell, Oct 10, 2012. | Replies: 4 | Views: 5068

  1. oda krell

    oda krell IncGamers Member

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    I'm playing a pretty much by-the-book blizzballer, I'm at level 75 as of now. I'm going through Act I in Hell diff right now, and while I am progressing reasonably fast, there are some problems I ran into. Here are the two recurring scenarios that are difficult for me:

    Situation (1): I run into a larger than usual group of cold-immunes (corrupt rogue/rogue archers are among the worst). They start pounding on my merc, who has a survival time window of a about 3-4 seconds. If the mob wasn't CI, my blizz would wipe them out faster than they can kill my merc, but since they are CI, I have to use meteor. The DPS of my meteor is not the biggest problem (it's at lvl 24, plus 10ish synergy by fireball), but the *time before it first strikes* is problematic. By the time the first meteor hits the ground, my merc is almost halfway dead. If the group of CIs is only slightly larger, he's dead before his attacks + my initial meteors hits wipe out the group.

    tl;dr #1: delay before meteor hits ground is too long, my merc barely survives until then when mobbed by CIs.

    Situation (2): Same group of CIs as above, but now throw in a random unique with a nasty modifiers (like conviction aura, or extra fast). I already know my merc won't even stand a chance against them now (he'd be dead in less than a second), so I start tele-dancing to kill the mob myself. As before, if they weren't CI, I'd be successful at that, tele'ing excessively while casting blizz, and they would go down fast. But since they are CIs, I have to use meteor, and I simply can't bring any real damage to them with that spell. Since they're not held in a spot by my merc, they move fast, and they are nowhere *near* where I aimed the meteor at when it finally lands. And the damage they take from the flames on the ground isn't enough to kill them in a reasonable time.

    tl;dr #2: I can't target meteor at fast-moving mobs of CIs if they aren't held in place by my merc. If the mob contains a nasty unique, my merc has almost zero survival against such a mob, so he can't tank them. Dilemma.


    Here are some ideas for a solution I tried to come up with myself:

    (a) My merc is a Normal diff Prayer Merc, with Insight/Tal Rasha Mask/Spirit Shroud. Obviously, the armor sucks, but I haven't found anything better for now. Also, the Insight is in a non-eth partizan, so a better weapon would help because more damage = more LL, but I'm not sure if that'd be enough to really make a change.

    (b) Maybe I should use a different merc: I like the Prayer merc. He gets a total of about 50hp/2sec (prayer+meditation+life regen), which is not entirely useless (although I admit it doesn't keep him alive against the mobs described above). I tried using a HF merc instead, but I like tele'ing really a lot, so most of the time, the HF aura doesn't have time to connect with the enemies and is useless. Maybe a Defiance merc would work better, any comments on if that would make a difference?

    (c) Use different fire spells: Fireball is too weak, at least compared to meteor -- but if I'm wrong about that, please let me know. Firewall has the same problem as meteor, in that I can't make it work against (semi)fast mobs.

    (d) My final idea: like I said above, DPS is not the biggest problem so far, but time before first strike. So I though about respeccing, and replacing my fire spells with lightning ones. My line of reasoning: if I can get comparable damage numbers with a spell that just *hits* faster than meteor, I think my problem would be solved. Can any comment on the viability of a Cold/Lightning dual build? The idea is to continue using blizzard/glacial spike for the cold side, but replace meteor/FB by Chain Lightning/Lightning. I would lose the timered+non-timered spell idea of the original blizzballer build for the lightning side, but that would seem like a small price. Any ideas if that would work?
  2. Kijya

    Kijya IncGamers Member

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    In areas where this is a problem you can usually meteor ahead and teleport onto the spot where it hits. If melee monsters notice you they often get to you just as the meteor hits and you can start spamming meteors in that spot to stack flames. Creating such hot spots with stacked flames and using teleport to position your merc to lure monsters into them is a fairly decent tactic for keeping your merc alive in those areas. If the monsters are ranged then you'll have to place meteors on top of them and teleport around to avoid their attacks, tele-dancing as you said. Sadly I cannot think of a better solution here, just keep in mind that an attacking enemy isn't a moving enemy in general, and rely on the flames to finish them of by spreading your meteors across several targets rather then focusing on a single one until it's dead.

    Note: Remember to use static field! Normally you'd be using fireballs in between the meteors on a blizzballer, but if you've yet to level fireball to a point where it can compete with meteors DPS, then you'd currently be more like my meteblizz build (guide in signature) on which I use static as the spell to spam while waiting for meteors.

    Same as above, to kill with an underpowered meteor you should attempt to stack flames in a single position if they're melee and dodge the attacks of anything ranged. Sadly even with this tactic it can be hard to kill those with especially nasty modifiers, so normally you'd avoid them or position them so they cannot reach you because of the map while you kill them. Telekinesis can be used help your merc by stunning the boss if you can kill of the minions.

    You can create a hotspot for chasing monsters by casting meteor on one spot and teleporting back and forth across it if your merc cannot tank even for a second. Bit of a hassle but ...


    Better weapon helps for sure, but leech will not help if he is stunned to easily by the damage he receives. Increasing his life from leveling/CTA/gear helps, likewise hit recovery gear and attack speed improvements.

    HF drastically reduces the attacking and movement speed of most enemies, providing far higher benefit for your merc then the prayer aura does in terms of tanking. Prayer is useful against poison, but otherwise the hp/sec is to low to add much benefit compared to decent LL and their natural regen.

    The hp/sec from prayer to heal minor scraps during teleporting is a convenience you can afford yourself once your merc is strong enough to tank for more then a few seconds.

    Defiance isn't that useful on a character unless you've got gear with high defence to boost. Your current merc equipment indicates that it would be a waste to use this aura. Even with high end defense gear on your merc I'd say HF beats it and is more reliable as it also slows elemental attackers.

    Meteor is the best on a low investment (20 point to max, 1 point mastery along and prereqs), but as you're aiming to build a blizzballer and not meteblizz then your fireball will be more practical to use (easy to spam and no waiting for impact) once you've maxed it along with your synergy (meteor or firebolt). Stacked flames still out DPS fireball spam, but by the time you've set it up things will already be dead except for really high hp monsters and places like baals throne room.

    Apart from the annoying to use shape of the AoE you don't get any impact damage that can momentarily stun a target (possibly interrupting attacks for your merc) when using firewall, this causes it to be a bit less good for keeping weak mercs alive. DPS wise against single targets its decent, but against a normal formation enemies meteor will be better at hitting multiple targets. Regardless, meteor + static works better then firewall alone or firewall + static imo, the delayed impact damage gives you perfect time to reduce monsters to 50% ...

    Doable of course, but less direct DPS in most cases then the fireball of a blizzballer and no ability to stack up flames using meteor for even higher localized outputs. Lightning works better on an area clearer then the bossrunners most blizzard hybrids would aim to be used as, taking out the random CI unique monsters will be harder.
  3. hubb

    hubb IncGamers Member

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    A by-the-book Blizzballer without Fireball maxed? :p

    This:
    RE the lightning side, the wide damage range makes it frustrating to use when you don't have Infi or have limited points to spend. CL/L works well along with Orb, but I think Static/FB/Meteor is the better option when you have ~45 points to spend.
  4. oda krell

    oda krell IncGamers Member

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    Thanks a lot for the responses!

    Well, at lvl 75 the build isn't finished yet, but I guess you're right, I should have maxed FB before maxing meteor. My bad :p


    Wow, thanks so much for the long detailled reply. I'll need some time to digest all the info.

    Re: your first tactical advice ("place meteor, then tele on that spot"). That's exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. Fantastic idea, never thought of it. I'll see if I can get fast enough at pulling this off to make this maneuver part of my playstyle.

    Re: static field instead of fireball. I'll give it a try, but so far, I have only +5 all skills, and with 1 hard point in static field, I don't think I have the range to pull this off yet.

    Re: your second tactical advice (how to beat CI groups with nasty uniques), creating a hotspot of meteors, then tele'ing back and forth across it. I sort of tried that myself already, but so far, it's not working very well yet, guess I'm not fast enough for it yet... probably a matter of practice.

    Re: merc gear. Noted, hit recovery + attack speed > damage

    Re: prayer merc vs HF vs Defiance. I admit, you're entirely right about prayer merc: the reason why I like him is the *convenience* that he provides, of not using pots for 90% of the time. But right now, I guess I have to sacrifice this convenience for a more useful merc. I'll give the HF another try.

    Re: skill distribution. I took a look at your meteblizz guide. I'm not entirely sure I get it though: won't the minimal fire tree (20 meteor, 1 mastery) not even be weaker than what I'm doing now, i.e. any problem I have right now will only be aggravated? I can see how it works with sufficient +all skills gear, but I don't have those.

    Re: Lightning instead of Fire. Yeah, it was just an idea, I'd actually prefer to continue using Fire, as long as I can make it work.
  5. Kijya

    Kijya IncGamers Member

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    You'll be casting quite a few redundant meteors of course, but it helps from my experience. Also note that you'll usually have previous meteor flames to fall back to in case you encounter something nasty if you proceed to traverse an area while doing this.

    Even with only +5 it's still enough to cover the area your meteor lands on when you spam meteors while melee monsters walk into your hotspot, so it'll be useful.

    It is a hassle indeed, especially for the extra fast bosses. This tactic also works best if your impact damage is enough to stun your target to give you that extra second on each side. Static helps as 50% hp monsters are more likely to get into hit recovery (1/12 of health needs to be dealt in a single hit iirc).

    There's always a compromise to make of course but in the case of insight mercs you tend to get enough damage imo. So yeah, hitting the monsters tend to be hard when your merc dies too fast => takes to much damage => hit recovery + possibly a slow attack => deals no damage so no LL.

    You don't have to as such, but it would indeed help. At least you'll still have mana regen, and that's by far the most important pot-deterrent.

    Of course, just refereed to it in case you needed some inspiration on how an underpowered meteor can handle things as that seemed to be your current status. Once you've maxed fireball the points mentioned in that guide will only apply if you plan to respec to make your blizzard more powerful to help in bossruns. Normally blizzballer will be fine and balanced, it's only when you do bossruns on higher playercounts you may wish to boost blizzard a bit more to lower the runtimes.

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